I just finished watching “Lost in Translation” and it reminded me of my fantastic vacation in Japan. The movie is filmed in Tokyo and most of the places and hotels I can recognize from summer 2009 in Japan. Murray in the movie arrived to Tokyo to film some whisky advertisement, but I went there to study in a workshop entitled “‘The E-learning Training Program in Japan: Facts and Findings on E-learning Development in Universities’
At my university, we have a new course “Methods of Research”, which as the name implies requires from us a research paper on any subject we choose and we should apply all the MLA style we studied during the semester on our final paper. Therefore I chose to write about e-learning. So this workshop was of enormous support for me in my studies, because its main aim was to introduce information and real experiences on e-learning in Japanese universities, which was conducted through practical approach by case studies and site visits by Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE).
Anyhow, I will discuss my research paper another time; here I want to focus in this great movie. Some people told me that Lost in Translation is and old movie and that it has no story. They are somehow right, but the whole point in watching a movie is to be entertained and I really had fun watching it, although I have to admit the general atmosphere of the movie is a little bit depressing but it reminded me of Japan and ahhhhh it felt good, my mind was wholly taken up with reminiscences of my experience in the “Land of the Rising Sun“.
What I liked in this movie is the funny culture clash that causes you to wonder how two similar species can be so different. Some hilarious scenes results from this clash, Murray for example, in the scene where he was filming the whisky commercial, he was given iced-tea instead of real whisky to drink during the filming, he was so annoyed from the director, he wished for some actual whisky to drink. And later on, he was exercising on a machine, the machine is programmed in Japanese language so when he started it he couldn’t stop it, instead he kept increasing the speed, LOL.
I have noticed this during my stay in Japan that Japanese people have a weird sense of humor. This weirdness is excessively reflected in their TV shows, as the movie presents some, Murray flipping over some local Japanese channels not finding anything interesting to watch, same reaction I had the first time I turned the tv there!
One of my favorite scenes, btw when I say “favorite” I mean funniest, is the one I just mentioned, when the Japanese director of the commercial and an interpreter while filming the whiskey commercial, the director speaks several long sentences with passion, followed by a very brief translation from the interpreter. This baffles and somehow annoys Murray, Bob in the movie. The actual scene in the movie is played without subtitles but I got the subtitles from Wikipedia:
Director [in Japanese, to the interpreter]: The translation is very important, O.K.? The translation.
Interpreter [in Japanese, to the director]: Yes, of course. I understand.
Director [in Japanese, to Bob]: Mr. Bob. You are sitting quietly in your study. And then there is a bottle of Suntory whisky on top of the table. You understand, right? With wholehearted feeling, slowly, look at the camera, tenderly, and as if you are meeting old friends, say the words. As if you are Bogie in Casablanca, saying, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” — Suntory time!
Interpreter [In English, to Bob]: He wants you to turn, look in camera. O.K.?
Bob: Is that all he said?